Pope Francis cancels COP28 trip owing to ‘risks of pulmonary complications’

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Pope Francis canceled his trip to Dubai for the COP28 climate talks on Tuesday due to recent flu-like symptoms on the advice of doctors.

Pope Francis (AP)

The 86-year-old, who has been the cornerstone of his 10-year pontificate, had planned to become the first archbishop to attend a United Nations event since the process began in 1995.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said: “Although the general clinical picture of the Holy Father has improved with flu-like illness and respiratory inflammation, doctors have asked the Pope not to extend the trip to Dubai in the coming days.” press release.

“Pope Francis accepted the doctor’s request with great regret and canceled the trip,” Bruni said.

Bruni — who was briefed hours earlier that the pope would attend — said the pope still wanted to be part of the discussions in Dubai.

Francis’ departure from the conference, which begins Thursday, leaves COP 28 without one of the region’s most high-profile advocates, an internationally recognized moral authority whose words some believe can spur leaders to take concrete action.

– touch cold –

Francis, who turns 87 next month, has dealt with a range of health problems in recent years, from knee and hip pain to bowel inflammation and, most recently, hernia surgery in June.

On Saturday, the Vatican canceled events due to what it called “light flu symptoms.” A CT scan ruled out “pulmonary complications,” he said.

Instead of facing St. Peter’s Square, the Pope was forced to recite the traditional Angelus prayer from his residence on Sunday.

But Bruni said the pope would lead his weekly audience on Wednesday morning as planned.

The leader of 1.3 billion Catholics, more than half of whom live in developing countries, Francis has long criticized the link between climate change and poverty, with the world’s most marginalized paying the highest price for global warming.

In Dubai, the pontiff is expected to use the platform to address the lack of action on climate change, and to persuade them to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is expected to play a role in rebuilding trust between climate-vulnerable countries and wealthy consumer-driven polluters.

– ‘Breaking Point’ –

Francis’ speech to world leaders at COP28 may come just weeks after an article was published in October that the world was “falling apart” and was “close to breaking point” due to global warming.

That warning — which expressed frustration with governments’ inadequate response to the climate crisis — came in 2015. In 2015, a seminar on the environment “Laudato Si” (Praise be to you), man-made climate change and heated criticism followed. Science-based outcomes around the world.

It is believed to have contributed to a breakthrough at the UN climate talks in Paris a few months later, in which countries agreed to limit temperatures “well above” the pre-industrial level of two degrees Celsius, and specifically to 1.5C.

Francis wrote in October that the COP 28 talks could “represent a change in direction” if participants make binding agreements to transition from fossil fuels to wind and solar.

The speeches It will be the first official assessment of humanity’s efforts to comply with the 2015 agreement and its ambition to limit global warming to “1.5 degrees Celsius if possible” since the pre-industrial era.

In addition to addressing world leaders, Francis is expected to inaugurate the COP’s first tent of faith to mark religious engagement on climate issues.

Sverker Sorlin, an expert on international environmental governance at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, told Agence France-Presse before the pope’s cancellation that attending the COP represented a “tipping point.”

“The Pope may not turn the tables at the meeting, but be a ‘tipping point’ that can sway and push the negotiators… in the right direction,” Sorlin said, adding that Francis’ personal involvement on climate change is “of great importance.” .”

Last year, a knee ailment caused Francis to postpone his trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. He visited earlier this year.

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